One recent weekday, a dozen people were seen browsing the well-organized shelves of the Goodwill Store in east Valley.
TikTok has been complaining about an apparent increase in Goodwill prices. Phoenix shoppers can still find affordable items.
Vanessa Landreth (23), a Tempe resident, told the cashier that the prices were “pretty steady”. She added “Maybe it’s gotten a little higher over the past few years” as her eyes squinted out from behind black-framed spectacles.
Landreth picked up a few garments. Landreth sometimes purchases more items because the store has regular sales. Landreth searches for bargains often because her son is in daycare.
A tag that said $19 was attached to a loveseat sofa at the rear of the East Valley store. Five ceramic dinner plates were being sold for $5.49. A Mr. Coffee coffeemaker was $12.49.
At $5.99, you could buy a slightly faded Sanctuary Clothing black skirt with floral prints. A blouse in off-white with red flowers on the bottom and fringe was also available at this price. Hanging in a corner at a $5.49 price was a light blue cap branded with the logo of the pool supplies store Leslie’s.
An employee of a retail store confided to customers that product prices had more than doubled over the past year.
According to an economist in the area, prices could have changed since last year due to a changing economy.
Social media users stunned
A woman filmed a video of herself in a Goodwill store.
“Dude, Goodwill is tripping lately — tripping,” the woman posting on the account beccaboomm says on the video as she points to a pink top being sold at the thrift store that still has the original $2.98 sticker price but is tagged $4.99 by Goodwill. She continues, “And it was free.” They got it donated, and they’re doubling it.”
The video was uploaded Aug. 10 and has already generated over 1.6 million views. Of the almost 11,000 comments left on the video, users have expressed their disappointment at the recent price increases.
Goodwill’s statement on a possible increase in prices explains that the money generated by stores from donated goods is used to provide free services for local residents.
“For that reason, when a store receives donations, they work to set a price that reflects fair market value for their local community while also making the most of the donated item’s value,” read the statement.
The greater the revenue, the greater the help, Goodwill’s statement went on to say.
There are approximately 40 Goodwill stores across the Valley, according to the chain’s website store locator.
Goodwill Industries International was started more than 100 years ago in Boston by a Methodist minister seeking to employ the poor to sell the used goods of the wealthy, according to the nonprofit’s website.
Prices reflect changes in the economy
George Hammond, director of the Economic and Business Research Center in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, said the overall economy will impact the price of new and used goods.
Hammond stated that the wages of Phoenix workers have increased at a rate “fairly rapid” which has not been seen for 15 years. “At this time, the demand for second-hand stores is probably strong, partly due to individuals’ increasing income.”
Phoenix’s inflation for 2022 peaked at just above 13% last summer but it now matches the national 3.7% rate, Hammond said citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index.
Hammond explained that although inflation has decreased, when prices have risen rapidly in recent years, and especially for new items, it will increase the demand for these goods as consumers look for cheaper options.
Hammond said that thrift shops, like Goodwill help shoppers stretch their budgets.
“They allow people to buy the things they want at a discounted price.” Hammond says that second-hand stores can also offer unique products, like old jewelry. Secondhand stores play a part in fashion trends.
Dora Garcia, a 42-year old Mesa resident perused the accessories at Goodwill’s east Valley location as her young daughter tried a hunter green wool felt cap. Garcia, who is a mother to three children and was looking for Halloween costumes, wasn’t phased by price changes at Goodwill.
She said, “It’s the truth (that shopping here is helpful)” in Spanish while nodding her head.
Republic Reporter Laura Daniella Sepúlveda contributed to this article.